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The Facebook .V. Television Debate

Marketing Week’s Marketing Society Forum: ‘Can Facebook compete with TV as a brand communication channel’ brought up an interesting debate on the influence and power of the growing social media platform against the more traditional format of television. The speakers were torn; is Facebook simply a ‘second-screen’ and thus no real threat, or is it better at keeping customers engaged with the double benefit of providing scale?

I would sway toward the opinion of Mark Given, Brand Director at Heineken UK, who argued an interesting and very valid point that although Facebook does engage the consumer, its stripped-back layout limits creativity and is more suited to the format of teasers, incentives and offers akin to digital direct response. 

I would also argue that consumers still do not wholly trust Facebook. What with the exposure of its targeted ads, selling of consumer data and ever-changing profile formats that appear to reveal more and more about us, the traditional television appears a safer platform, remaining at a comforting distance. I’m pretty certain that if Facebook does not take measures to reassure consumers soon, then it will ultimately fail as an effective, trust-worthy brand communication platform.

Will brands go mad for the Royal wedding?

Whilst reading this week’s Marketing Magazine, I saw that major drinks manufacturer Halewood International is set to launch a limited edition Prince William champagne to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Good idea? Perhaps, but it got me thinking about the extent to which brands are going to ‘cash in’ on the happy couple, and let’s be honest, if the Olympics are anything to go by, the impact will be huge.

Stanley Gibbons, the stamp collecting and memorabilia group, claimed it expects to hugely benefit from sales of commemorative mugs, vases and stamps, and in fact the Royal Wedding is expected to hand UK businesses a £620m boost, according to retail research group Verdict.

So besides the Royal bubbly, I wonder what we’ll see next? William and Kate Cereal Flakes? A Royal Wedding i-Phone app? Faces of Kate and Will splashed upon Walkers crisp packets? William aside, it would appear that Kate Middleton is turning into her own ‘brand’, whether she likes it or not. Courtiers have picked up on this and plan to warn businesses, especially retailers, that using Miss Middleton’s full name to promote clothing ranges could put them in violation of copyright laws. I can certainly see her with her own Topshop range mind you.

Let’s watch this space, but in the meantime, do check out some brilliantly crafted unofficial memorabilia produced by the KK Outlet in East London.

RPM’s Reporter at Vintage Goodwood

RPM’s PR Manager Steph Wollenberg headed to Vintage at Goodwood. Here is her report of the most impactful brand activity.

Vintage at Goodwood, a boutique festival in Chichester, flaunts all things Vintage to the coolest of cats, including classic cars, old-school clothes, antique jewellery and costumes. The festival is like no other, with a faux high-street constructed right in the centre equipped with cinema, catwalk (sponsored by Grazia), beauty parlour (in association with the Jemma Kidd Make-up School) and a host of chic bars and shops. Civilised is an understatement; with a host of polite information people, litter-pickers galore and even clean toilets!

Jumping on the ‘clean bandwagon’ were Dyson, who had a stand exhibiting their powerful hand dryers using the ‘The Damp Hands Challenge’. I think we can all agree that from first impression the Dyson brand isn’t exactly synonymous with fashion, but their activity was very functional when it came to festival life. In-built into their structure were multiple hand basins and soap, offering people the chance to wash their hands using the Dyson hand dryers to dry them. This practical approach offered people a very useful service whilst educating them on the importance of hand hygiene and allowing them to try out their product.

Bedazzling viewers near the entrance was The Tanqueray Torch Club, a venue providing waitored table service, with a large dance floor and swing bands keeping revellers on their feet all day and all night long. I felt like I’d stepped into the 1950’s, and the ambiance of the room really suited Tanqueray. I also spotted another Tanqueray bar on the main high street, decorated to look like a classy cocktail hang-out with mint wall-paper, white leather booths and an outdoor seating area. Inside, a large bar was the focal point decorated at one end with Tanqueray bottles displayed in the shape of a larger bottle and a great selection of classy cocktails.

Gola too had a small area. It was a vintage football set-up that invited festival-goers to ‘Beat The Keeper And Win £5’. This was a similar offering to our own Bop-it campaign we held last year, where we asked students to ‘Challenge The Champ for a Fiver’. Gola’s campaign seemed to be just as successful; there were queues of young kids. However after noting the size of the minuscule goal, their attempts seemed even more futile agaisnt the hench goal keeper, who blasted the balls away left right and centre! I’m pretty sure those five pound notes weren’t handed out very often.

Last but not least was the wrist band given in exchange for tickets on arrival. This was designed into the shape of a large IWC watch and really stood out as a great brand idea. Usually wrist bands at festivals make collectable items and it was interesting to have the brand displayed on your arm. For that particular weekend, everybody ‘owned’ an IWC watch, and it’s something I would definitely remember. The IWC watch also appeared on the website, showing the countdown until the festival began.

Lookout, The Billboards Are Watching….

RPM’s PR Manager Steph Wollenberg doesn’t like being watched. Are Japan’s latest billboards too far?

Japan’s Digital Signage Promotion Project is currently experimenting with digital advertising billboards fitted with cameras. The billboards are able to discern the gender and age group of a passerby and subsequently target them with specific, tailored advertising.

The billboards are situated in Tokyo’s subway system, and a spokesman for the project said that “The camera can distinguish a person’s sex and approximate age, even if the person only walks by in front of the display, at least if he or she looks at the screen for a second.”

So how should consumers feel about this?

Its been argued that such advertising mirrors the rather unsettling spy technology used in Steven Spielberg’s Sci-f flick Minority Report, and there is- without question- something alarming about this particular system, even if it is it is very effective for advertisers. In a world where CCTV continues to monitor our every move alongside growing rules and regulations, it seems that we’re unable to simply walk by without getting slotted in to some kind of Marketing related database.

Advertising to me is about creativity, originality, innovation and sophistication, but not to the point where people are made to feel like their every move is being watched. I believe that advertising worked equally well before this particular system, so for the comfort of our own society, I would suggest we steer well clear!

Great Films I’ve Seen

There’s been some seriously impressive creative clipsthat I’ve come across recently so I thought I’d share them with you all. The first, ‘35mm’ is a well designed animation that presents a quirky showreel of iconicclues to35 classic films in just 2 minutes. I havent managed to figure out all of them yet, but I’m pretty sure any film buff would make it to atleast 30.

The second is an animation presented to me by a member of our studio during one of RPM’s Creative Lunches.Entitled ‘I Met The Walrus’ it’s based on a rare interview with John Lennon in 1969, directed by Josh Rashkin, produced by Jerry Levitan and illustrated by James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina. It’s well worth a watch.

The Elephant Parade .v. The Vadar Project

If you live in London, I’m fairly sure you’ll have seen atleast one of the 250 elephants placed around the capital this summer, each one individually designed and crafted by various artists and designers including Jack Vetriano, Matthew Williamson and Jeff Hoare. With a host of celebrity supporters and arguably faultless PR, the Elephant Parade has proved to extremely succcessful in raising awareness. In fact, after a recent auction, a grand total of £70,000 was raised towards the charity

Another similar project that delves slightly more into the dark side of art is ‘The Vadar Project’. Again, 100 artists and designers customized replicas of the Darth Vader helmet transforming the mask of the menacing villain into individual works of art.

Unlike the elephants though, this exhibition has been touring for 4 years and is soon to come to an end in Freeman’s Auction House in Philedelphia. Curated and produced by Dov Kelemer and Sarah Jo Marks of DKE Toys, the Vader Project is on view at Freeman’s from July 5-9, followed by the auction on July 10. The show also includes a vibrant limited-edition catalog featuring full-color photographs of each helmet.

Tennis or Football?

Currently at RPM, there seems to be a slight rift between whether we decide to watch the tennis or the football during lunchtime. Each sport, we debated, was arguably as exciting as the other and equally both sets of playersjust as talented and gripping to watch. So how do we make up our minds?

If you’ve come across a similar conundrum at your place of work, I recommend the following un-biasedtechnique I used. During half time, when football watchers begin to mull around, clean their plates or engage in light conversation, stick on the tennis, and hide the remote.

Game. Set. Match.

Nurturing Talent & Grad Scheme

As an industry, I think we’re leading the pack in terms of sustaining recruitment and developing talent on all levels. Recruitment plays such a vital role in bringing fresh vitality and new viewpoints to the table. But, it’s not just about getting talent in- it’s keeping it that matters. The only way you can achieve this is investing in your people and their working environment. Some of our graduate recruits who joined over ten years ago now hold key leadership positions andit’s here that I’d like to flag up our grad scheme- open for entries until June 25th.

Anyone with a passion for marketing, or creativity should apply via our website where you can find an application form.Our grad scheme is very important to us- and we really encourage people to apply.

So go on- show us what you’ve got!

Those Mascots…

How am I not suprised that the official Olympics mascots have turned outto be even more meaningless, and, lets be honest,darn right hideous asthe Olympics zig zag logo? Those computer-generated, not-even-Nintendo-worthy graphics look like they’ve just hopped out of a five year old Sonic The Hedgehog console game. What do you all think? Perhaps this humidy is making me ragey….

Stephanie Wollenberg

Global Sponsorship

Last year, Coca Cola announced a 29% increase in sales following the Beijing Olympics and I have no doubt that all the official sponsors of the World cup and London 2012 will be hoping for similar success. It is crucial that brands are able to leverage the positive emotions that these kind of events provoke in fans, furthering and complimenting their experience.

Global spend on sponsorship has grown significantly this year, despite the financial crisis. This inevitably results in a higher level of competition for brands as they attempt to stand out from the crowd and the days of slapping a brand on a banner aregone. Now, brands need to make that emotional, long lasting and powerful connection.

It will be interesting to see who gets it right and who gets it wrong this year, although obviously not as interesting as whether Capello can get past us in the semi finals….